Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) and other professional journalists’ organisations
united on January 13 in nation-wide protests over the murder of Uma Singh. The
print and broadcast journalist, aged in her mid-20s, was murdered in Janakpur
in south-eastern Nepal
on January 11.
“The IFJ joins
the FNJ and all journalists in Nepal
in expressing outrage and grief at the brutal murder of Uma Singh”, the IFJ’s
Asia-Pacific Director, Jacqueline Park, said.
upon high-level authorities in Nepal
to enter into good faith talks with the FNJ and all other relevant bodies to
improve the media freedom situation in the country.”
to the FNJ, an IFJ affiliate, Janakpur town shut down on January 13 as
thousands of its citizens joined in Uma Singh’s funeral procession. All radio
stations in the surrounding districts suspended their programming to run
tributes to her life and work.
The FNJ noted
that police had reportedly made four arrests for the murder, which took place
at Uma Singh’s home and involved an estimated 15 persons, armed with knives and
other lethal weapons. The identities of those apprehended have not been
revealed, ostensibly because that would compromise further investigation.
At a press
conference in Kathmandu on January 14, the FNJ
released its preliminary findings on the murder.
The FNJ believes
it is possible that the people responsible for the disappearance of Uma Singh’s
father and brother three years ago may have committed the murder to cover their
father and brother were abducted in 2006 before the ceasefire agreement between
the Maoist insurgents and the then royal government of Nepal came into
force. They are now believed to be dead.
cadres are believed to have been behind the abductions. In recent months, Uma Singh
had written articles fiercely critical of the state of lawlessness in her
region of Nepal,
on account of the continuing operations of various armed groups.
The FNJ is
engaged in discussions with Nepal’s
top leadership over pursuing all available leads and bringing the perpetrators
of this heinous crime to justice.
has also placed before the head of Nepal’s Constituent Assembly a
demand for an all-party committee to inquire urgently into all issues with a
bearing on media freedom and safety.
fully endorses the demand by the FNJ and its other affiliates in Nepal that the
authorities initiate swift and accountable action in this case and send a clear
message that attacks on journalists and media freedom will not be tolerated.
further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries